Berlin Trip 2012

berlin_trip“On Monday 13th February, 37 Year 11 students and five staff set off for Bury Church’s second visit to Berlin. After a fantastic flight from Liverpool to Berlin we arrived at our accommodation and after unpacking it was straight out to explore the city.

Our first night consisted of a traditional German meal and a visit to the ‘TV Tower’ the tallest building in the city, offering fantastic views of this once divided city. ‘Dunkin Donuts’ were very popular as a dessert on the way back to the underground station, I think our group made it a very profitable night for the small branch next to the ‘Alexanderplatz’ station!

On Tuesday morning we visited ‘Sachsenhausen’ concentration camp. The tour of the site really enabled our students to see the realities of Nazi terror and the grey, cold winter weather added to the eerie atmosphere of the camp. The afternoon tour of the Jewish Museum was informative and our students were impressed with the quality of the guides’ English and their enthusiasm for the museum and its exhibits!

Tuesday evening started with a longer walk than expected. Our coach driver told us that the bowling alley was a two minute walk away, half an hour later through the Berlin sleet we arrived at the bowling alley and reduced our stay to one game! The coach driver did return to collect us and deliver us to the ‘Hard Rock Café’ for dinner. A very long day was concluded with a quieter night back at the hostel, an exhausted group got to sleep fairly quickly!

Wednesday morning was the student ‘downtime’, where the group explored a four floored shopping centre. I have no doubt that the German students used the retail opportunity to practise their language skills; at this point I was trying to find a cinema that was showing an English film for that evening. This was not an easy task as the ‘Berlin Film Festival’ meant that the regular English programmes were cancelled!

An afternoon visit to the DDR Museum helped students to visualise what life was like in East Berlin during the Communist era. Following rigorous security and a journey in a rather crowded lift we toured the Reichstag (German Parliament building) dome. The dome allowed for more stunning views of the city and the audio pack gave us a real insight into the history of the building and city. Our final attempts to find a suitable film at the cinema failed so we booked the DVD room at the hostel for a night in with snacks. Many of the students were quite pleased that we did not have to venture back into the cold again! The evening was good natured and spirited as the students enjoyed their final night in Berlin.

On Thursday morning Mr Grady led us to a section of the original Berlin wall, where the group appreciated the variety of symbolic art on offer. Our return flight to Liverpool was as good as the outbound flight and we arrived back in Bury early evening on Thursday.

The students were a fantastic group; they were co-operative and good humoured throughout and really appreciated the packed programme that we had offered. Thanks to all the students and to Mrs McCann, Mr Grady, Miss Aston and Miss Brothers for making this trip a success.